This year’s Spring Dance Concert promises to be an eclectic conglomeration of dance styles, including modern, jazz, ballet and even swing.
“It’s always interesting; in every concert you have different expressions, different styles and different cultures represented,” senior dance major Yatzaira Marcano said.
The concert, titled “Passages,” is being held April 22 at 8 p.m. and April 23 at 3 p.m. in McInnis Auditorium. It contains 12 dance pieces to be performed by students, faculty and alumni.
One special treat that the concert is offering is dance professor Joselli Deans’ ballet piece, titled “Move with the Son,” a piece about the Christian spiritual journey into the life of Christ.
The dance department tends to feature more modern dance styles, and a ballet piece will really be something different. It is also another step in a long historical tradition.
“This is my first significant ballet piece that is totally influenced by Balanchine aesthetics,” Deans said.
Deans danced with Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theatre of Harlem from 1979 to 1990, and Mitchell was the first African American to dance with the legendary George Balanchine.
Deans is not the only dancer trying something new for the concert.
Dance professor Karen Clemente reconstructed an older work of hers for the concert. The reconstructed work is titled “Wage Peace,” and it is about “our need for and desire for peace in our world and in ourselves,” Clemente said.
Clemente said that she usually creates completely new works for the concert, but she was not sure she would be able to choreograph something new because of her recent shoulder surgery.
“Something that seemed highly problematic turned out to be highly satisfying,” she said. “The reconstruction process, I think, has actually reaped a better dance.”
Senior dance major Genevieve Adams’ piece, like the concert as a whole, contains a variety of different dance styles. The four-part piece starts with ballet, then moves to modern, then swing and wraps up with all the styles together.
“I love choreographing so it was really fun for me to do everything that I’ve learned here at Eastern,” Adams said.
Adams’ piece is titled “Chapters” and recalls the transition she made from living and going to community college at home in Johnstown to coming to school at Eastern.
Junior dance major Josh Landis choreographed an energetic, three-part, 13-minute piece that deals with relationships at Eastern. The piece questions whether these relationships are Christ-centered.
“I’m excited to see what people will say about it,” Landis said. “It’s going to be interesting.”
Senior Sarah Fazel, a dance minor, dedicated her piece to her husband, Brandon, who has supported and encouraged Sarah in her dancing and education.
“He works two jobs so I can go to school,” Sarah said. “He really paid the price so that I could do what I felt God had planned for me.”
“Everybody’s gonna get to see [the piece], but at the heart of it, it’s just for my husband,” she added.
Marcano’s piece deals with relationships in a different way. Her piece is about the struggles that women have to face in life, like violence.
“[It is about] pretty much how you find a way to be free and find a refuge in God,” she said. “My intent is to portray justice issues in dance, to make people aware of what’s going on in the world.”
Senior Juan DeAngulo is playing guitar for Marcano’s piece. This is the only piece that features live music.
“I don’t have to tell him to do certain things. It just happens. He always finds a way better than I expect,” she said.
There is a general consensus that Eastern’s dance program has been progressing since its conception 16 years ago.
“The choreography has really grown even since I’ve been here in 2003,” Landis said.
“Everyone can come in and expect great pieces of art that mean something,” Sarah said about the concert.
Deans expressed hope that people will come to the concert and support the dancers.
“That’s always helpful to have a full house,” she said.